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The Expeditionary Forces


The liberation and leaving for the Far East
Raoul Coutard Film-maker
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So afterwards, when the liberation happened, well, I took a few photos during the liberation. Naturally, I...

[Q] In Paris?

In Paris.

[Q] When fighting broke out?

Yes, that's right. I took photos and at the same time I applied to be what we could be at the time, that is as a stretcher-bearer etc., to go get the people that were getting bashed up. So... and obviously like all the young people at the time, I mean I was almost 20 years old, I wanted to enlist. They weren't taking anyone on, they had enough. So the only place left where one could do something... because it was something important to me to be able to say, 'Can I do something?' I don't mean for France, but, well... Because you didn't say it that way... But I mean, being able to still do something for the country. The only thing still possible was to enlist for the Far East, to go fight the Japanese. So I enlisted in the Expeditionary Forces of the Far East.

Alors ensuite, quand il y a eu la Libération, bon j'ai fait quelques photos pendant la Libération. Je me suis naturellement...

[Q] A Paris même?

A Paris même.

[Q] Pendant la période où il y a eu les combats?

C'est ça oui. J'ai fait des photos et en même temps je me suis présenté pour être ce qu'on pouvait faire à l'époque, c'est-à-dire au service des brancardiers, etc., pour aller chercher des gens qui se faisaient esquinter. Bon et puis naturellement comme tous les jeunes à ce moment-là j'avais pratiquement 20 ans. J'ai voulu m'engager, ils prenaient plus de gens et puis ils en avaient assez. Alors le seul endroit qui restait possible pour faire quelque chose, parce que c'était une chose qui m'importait de dire, 'Est-ce que je peux faire quelque chose?' Je ne veux pas dire pour la France mais enfin... Parce que ça ne se formulait pas comme ça... Mais je veux dire pour faire quelque chose quand même pour le pays. La seule chose qui était encore faisable c'était de s'engager pour l'Extrême-Orient, pour aller combattre les Japonais. Donc je me suis donc engagé dans le corps expéditionnaire Extrême-Orient.

French cinematographer, Raoul Coutard (1924-2016) was twice nominated for the César Award for best cinematography which he won in 1978 for 'Le Crabe-tambour'. He made over 75 films and documentaries, including 'À Bout de Souffle', Le Mépris' and 'Band à Part'. He was the most acclaimed French cinematographer of his generation and one of the key figures of the New Wave.

Listeners: Bernard Cohn

Benard Cohn is a French filmmaker and writer, who has directed five films as well as numerous documentaries and television series. As an assistant director, he worked with many important filmmakers, including Luis Buñuel, François Jacob, Otto Preminger and Woody Allen. He was a founding member of the Ciné-Qua-Non cinema club and has acted as editor and translator for various publications on the world of cinema.

Bernard Cohn est un réalisateur et écrivain français, ayant réalisé cinq film ainsi que de nombreux reportages et séries télévisées. En tant qu'assistant réalisateur, il a travaillé avec plusieurs grands cinéastes, notamment Luis Buñuel, François Truffaut, Otto Preminger et Woody Allen. Il fut membre fondateur du ciné-club Ciné-Qua-Non et a participé à la rédaction et traduction en anglais, de plusieurs ouvrages sur le cinéma.

Tags: Paris

Duration: 1 minute, 22 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008